10 Fun Facts About Solar Eclipses

10 Fun Facts About Solar Eclipses

I pondered the thought of being the only blogger on earth not to post anything about Monday's total solar eclipse, but since I live in the "Path of Totality." I changed my mind!

Here are "10 Fun Facts About Solar Eclipses," courtesy of USA Today:

1. Einstein's Theory of Relativity was proven during an eclipse

During a solar eclipse in 1919, Arthur Eddington was able to test (and prove) Albert Einstein's Theory of Relativity by observing the position of the stars in relation to the sun.

2. The temperature will drop during a total eclipse

During a total eclipse, the temperature shifts dramatically. This shift will vary based on location, but it will drop about 10 degrees Fahrenheit on average.

3. Total eclipses are rare, but not that rare

We think of total eclipses as rare, but the occurrence of an eclipse isn't really that rare. A total eclipse occurs about once every 18 months. However, since the Earth is 70% water, most eclipses occur over the open sea with very few people observing them.

4. Wildlife will respond to the shifting light of an eclipse

As the partial eclipse progresses and the sky darkens, birds will begin their early evening routine of flocking, swarming, and chirping loudly. As we plunge into the darkness of totality, birds will land and go quiet.

5. You'll see Baily's Beads moments before totality

In the seconds before totality occurs, it will seem like light is dancing on the sides of the moon. This phenomenon, known ad "Baily's Beads," was named after a 19th century English astronomer, Francis Baily. It occurs when the moon's craters and valleys break up the light.

6. Eclipses mean different things to different cultures

Different cultures have their interpretations of eclipses. In ancient China, dragons were said to be eating the sun. People would bang on drums to frighten the dragons away. In Navajo culture, eclipses are seen as a time for rebirth and quiet reflection.

7. Viewing an eclipse in the same location happens only once in a lifetime


While a total eclipse is not rare, the opportunity to observe an eclipse from the same location is incredibly rare. A total solar eclipse takes about 375 years to happen again in the same location.

8. Stars and planets will be visible

If you are located in an area with little light pollution, you'll be able to see some of the brightest stars, like Orion, and even a few planets -- notably Jupiter and Venus.

9. Eventually Earth won't have eclipses

This is a unique time in Earth's history. The moon is moving about an inch away from the Earth each year. The distances between the Earth and the moon and the Earth and the sun make their sizes appear almost the same, allowing for the occurrence of total eclipses. Eventually, Earth will only get annular eclipses -- when the Moon passes directly between the Earth and Sun, but does not completely cover the Sun's disk.

10. Just like tornado chasers, eclipse chasers also exist

Known as "umbraphiles," which means "shadow lovers," eclipse chasers are known to plan their world travels around pursuing eclipses. They use a variety of tools to observe eclipses in different ways and from various perspectives, such as from an airplane or in a forest.


Back to blog